Linn County, along with the Iowa Department of Transportation, urges drivers to use extra caution at rural road intersections and railroad crossings now that crops have grown to heights that can reduce visibility and schools have resumed class.
This past spring, the Linn County Secondary Road Department reviewed all of Linn County’s rural 4-way intersections on secondary roads with speed limits of 55 mph. The safety review resulted in placement of stop signs at 19 intersections that previously had been uncontrolled intersections. Now all 4-way intersections on Linn County’s secondary roads with speed limits of 55mph are controlled with stop signs, creating either a 2-way or 4-way stop.
“We made an investment in safety by installing the stop signs, and our rural intersections are now better controlled, but caution is still necessary because of obstructed views due to crops,” said Ben Merta, Linn County secondary road superintendent.
Jan Laaser-Webb, the Iowa DOT’s state safety engineer, said, “Living in Iowa, most drivers know that growing crops block views at intersections. At this time of year, we need to remind ourselves and each other as we head out on the road to be extra careful at intersections and driveways while the crops are tall. Be alert. Put down devices. Look for other vehicles. Stay safe.”
According to the Iowa DOT, as of July 15, there have been five crashes already this year in Iowa at rural intersections due to obstructed views.
Drivers should treat uncontrolled intersections as if a stop is posted. Do not enter an uncontrolled intersection until you are sure no vehicles are coming from the side roads. Do not cross railroad tracks until you are sure that trains are not present.
“We’re working to make Linn County’s rural intersections safer,” said Linn County Supervisor John Harris. “But this is Iowa and this is growing season, so we’re also asking drivers to use caution at intersections, especially this time of year. We still have quite a bit of time before harvest.”